The global demand for electricity is set to more than double in the transition to a low CO2 emissions economy. In 2018, the world consumed approximately 27,000 terawatt hours (TWh) in power. The growth of the global economy and extra demand owing to the emergence of more electric cars, trucks and ships will increase this figure to around 57,000 TWh in 2050, as revealed in a new analysis by ING Economics Department.
The wind and solar energy market is growing strongly: total investments of $13 trillion by 2050 should ensure clean power generation. CO2 emissions will in that case have fallen by almost two-thirds by 2050 compared to now.
Investments in wind and solar will increase significantly, if on the one hand, the growing demand for electricity is met and on the other, the generation of power is CO2 free. In the period up to 2050, a $13 trillion investment is needed to increase the share of wind and solar from 8% to 66%.
The investments are expected to increase throughout the period and between 2036 and 2050 will be significantly higher than the current global investments in the oil and gas industry.
The strong growth offers businesses plenty of opportunities. Innovative businesses in particular can benefit from this. Not so much from the production of solar panels, which has been transferred virtually entirely to China, but in the development of technology and design services. Chinese producers, for example, for long time use technology developed in the Netherlands by TNO/ECN. TNO researchers are now developing technology by which solar cells can be illuminated from both sides, thereby increasing the generation on a per Watt basis. And European companies develop new wind turbines that use less rare earth elements and that generate more power per installed capacity.